Civilization, the Early Years

Cognitive revolution:
the chambered self
scans through the window; the tribe waxes
hand spans in red ocher and the spirited quadrupeds;

paleolithic flutes chant
in bullroar drone,
Picasso bulls and equine splendor
— communion.
Spastic shadows dance in the limestone jaws acoustical:

the mystical rivers wait,
the cave teeth drip,
the anteroom priest flows through dreamtime
In a mammoth tusk emerges the dawnlight of beauty

impressed in miniature,
streamlined from the bulbous Great Mother.
spirits connect the Bushmen to pithecus savanna,

patchy with umbrella trees,
the ground clawed tight;
pollen escapes grassfire smoke skyward:
Wrathful sirens wail over waves, the ruins in moonlight:

the Minoan labyrinth
housing the bull
under flapping sails|  with longitude,
golden thread
out of darkness:  the taurine jump over the cratered moon.

Bronze-age warrior culture of
Linear B
immortalized in Homeric hymn,
anointed from stony Arabian navigation —

geographic destiny,
desert gardens watered by cisterns,
\ oasis /.
Towers look toward heaven, the plazas toward the king:

architecture constructed
Time-capsule art reveals lost cultures
after sand
buries or jungles strangle the structures quelling nature.

Pyramids and hieroglyphs,
war in the words
of codices on the Mayan steps
for Quetzalcoatl to rise over each new kingdom.

Sometimes the artisans
leave monuments
bleak, and walk back into the forest,
by the bestial wilderness where the sun sets early.

Ode for a Cockroach


Writhing snakes purify the white blood that sloshes around
within the armor, the woodwind heart with back and forth stops
running top a midnight scherzo at three miles an hour.
Folding into quarter crevices in three-quarter sleep,
Blattaria snuggles in moist shadows, shunning the light:
nocturnal demon that can scissor-scramble on two legs,
and tilt rusted battle shields to lift off like a gargoyle
against the stars.



Ethanol in Adel

In the distant past, a flock coursed into Adel for a party
but as the future turned a leaf, the affair was not so hearty.
To start, you see, was the stormy sea of rain that haltered hot.
The host and the house were mondo hip, but the alcohol was not.
Dave Smithy, the poor old soul, disordered the Daniels and gin;
chugging the potion in just three swallows, his lips proffered a grin.
He darted out of the rustic door to dance in deluging rain,
Scott, Steven, and Ange behind, screaming into the night, “Refrain !”
Dave brusquely met an obstacle, and embarked to embrace a tree;
the trio dragged him from the wet and Set the ass in front of me.
Well enough was not so well, as he reclined there upon the floor,
an unholy, gagging retch rang out; aghast, I gazed from the door.
Yes, David took a ralph just then, and his hideous glob was born:
Jack and gin, macaroni and cheese, and kernels of awful corn.
Goof-off guffaws tumbled aloft, the gang was gung-ho pagan.
David awoke, did not believe, his response was so evasive.
Okay boys, we took some pictures, disproving Dave’s dodging plot;
knowing he was caught ­ Davy shrugged, and uplifted from his cot.
Then we broke the fast, consuming cholesterol puffs and java;
retreat, did I, to play ping-pong, my mind sing song, “Hot Lava.”


Across the yellow field with the drifting stalks
stalks the amber lioness smeared like fire.
Fire is savannah and spirit beasts smoke,
smoke-shifting zebras pen emergent tales.
Tails flash in the boiling haze of struggle,
struggle for another orange morning,
mourn the quick silence of sunset red.

Red blood lullabies tawny cubs to sleep:
sleep falls misty like arctic-dark, moon drops
dropping in measured dosage, lifting waves.
Waving ghost sails carry the bark to sea—
see the night tussle where light streams across.